Collagen is present throughout the human body. It is the protein that makes up our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin. In fact, it can make up nearly 95% of the cartilage in our joints.
The problem is, that starting in our 30’s our bodies become less able to generate and replace collagen. So, it’s no wonder we start experiencing joint discomfort that affects our ability to run, hike, or chase little ones at the park. .
The cellular make up of collagen is strong and can resist stretching and pulling forces without breaking. Meaning, that when we have less of it our body is more prone to muscle pulls, tendon tears, and bones breaking. But, just because it’s a normal sign of aging doesn’t mean these outcomes are inevitable.
If there was a way to get more collagen instead of less as we age, then it seems we would be able to avoid these problems. We would have fewer aches & pains, less injuries, better strength, and even smoother skin. And the result . . . we would feel younger!
Maybe you have heard of collagen supplements or passed them on the shelf of Costco, but wonder . . .
Can consuming collagen really help increase the amount of collagen in my body?
First, of all we can get collagen from our diet for use by our body. This would primarily come from bone broth that is made with animal bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is cooked low and slow – usually 24 hours or more – so the natural collagen is extracted. It’s a great addition to your diet, but has one problem.
The collagen in bone broth is a large molecule and requires a great digestive system (balanced stomach acid and digestive enzymes) to break it down into a usable form. And starting in our 30’s our digestive enzymes decrease and make this process less efficient. So I say yes to adding bone broth to the diet . . . but most of us probably need more to get the benefits we desire.
This is why most of the researched performed around collagen uses a supplemental form. A review article by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2017 showed that people taking collagen hydrolysate supplements did experience pain relief in their joints. In various studies this has been shown in people with arthritis in their joints and in an athletic population with no current joint damage. In fact, in athletes, supplementing with collagen showed an improvement in athletic performance due to a decrease in this post training discomfort and improved recovery.
Subsequently, a study in 2018 published in the journal Nutrients, looked at collagen as it relates to bone density. It found collagen peptides significantly increased bone mineral density of the spine and hip bones. The blood levels of bone marker P1NP was also increased indicating improved bone health and lower fracture risk in these postmenopausal women with age related decline in bone density.
These two studies show the benefits of collagen to supporting joints and bones. There are also numerous studies and case study reports demonstrating additional benefits such as thicker hair, smoothing of wrinkles, better gut healthy, stronger arteries, and improved muscle strength.
It would take us forever to cover all of these topics, but can we agree that seeing improvements in just a few of these areas would allow us to look, feel, and move as if we were younger?
Are collagen supplements safe?
Dr. Moskowitz, a specialist in bone and joint disease, reports in his published journal articles that the high level of safety with use of collagen supplements makes it a good option for long term use to address even chronic conditions.
In general there are no negative side effects to collagen noted in the literature. If any mild digestive discomfort occurred it was more likely due to additives int the supplement not the collagen itself. that is why the sources of the supplement is very important.
So that leaves us with three big things to consider when choosing a collagen supplement . . .
Avoid Harmful Additives
Check for artificial flavors or sweeteners, additives, or GMOs which could contaminate the product and upset the digestive process. An unflavored version containing ingredients from grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, and sustainable fish will ensure you get what you need without anything harmful.
Check the Types of Collagen
All the positive outcomes in the research used hydrolyzed collagen peptides, so this is important to look for on a products label. In addition, different types of collagen from different sources will support different goals. Make sure the types of collagen in your product, preferably more than one source, correlate with the result you desire.
Ingredients to Support Absorption
The collagen peptides must be absorbed through our gut lining into the blood stream in order to be delivered to our joints or skin. So when people are using a collagen but not seeing results, it is often because the product does not contain ingredients that support the absorption process. Basically the collagen is just passing through, which could provide some soothing gut benefits but won’t get to the places you really want it.
Finding a product that checks all these boxes was a challenge and made it difficult to recommend particular products to clients over the years. Even though we knew the research was there to show it’s effectiveness, in realty when clients bought a canister of collagen at a big box store they didn’t see the results they desired, or they were minimal at best.
Now we understand why. The most often used product (I won’t name any names) didn’t pass the test of these three requirements. The biggest concern, it doesn’t contain the “types” of collagen that our clients need to support their goals. Next week we will dive into the different types of collagen and the ones we need to include to get the specific benefits we desire.
We are excited to partner with a company that did it right. They met all of our requirements including patented ingredients to improve absorption. You can check out the types of collagen it contains and check the boxes for yourself by clicking the link below.
You can receive a limited time coupon to trial this product for yourself by e-mailing me at email@example.com.